List5 - Books Part I

My friend Roach has a great site in which he asks friends to make lists of five things that answer his prompt - List5.

I respond there a good bit and will post some of that here. His latest is very appealing to me, but I must grade papers. So I'll post what I've written so far.
Works of literature you suggest others read is the latest.
I. Great Topic. (This is in my wheelhouse.)
It also made me quickly realize that I am an evangelist for science fiction & fantasy. Not just from a geek point-of-view, which I clearly have, but because it deals with big ideas, things I euphemistically call “manly ideas”, like justice, loyalty, & responsibility that can seem pedantic or contrived in non-speculative fiction, but seem to make such good sense in science fiction. (I read a book reviewer recently who suggested that this is because mainstream novels have become more small & personal in recent years.) I recently read The Road and I’ve decided this is why Cormac McCarthy is so popular. He writes about manly themes and has used the western as a framework for putting those ideas in the mainstream in the past. I thought The Road was good but not great, but he took very traditional, almost trite, sci-fi ideas about an apocalypse and then used them to study a man struggling to make a better life for his son, while barely hanging on to his own humanity and life. And people love it because it is a “manly” story, but by using the science fiction framework, it was more acceptable than a straight-forward, modern story. But I digress… and I could be full of it.

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